Three vie for BG First Ward council seat


Three people are running in the May 7 primary to represent the Democratic Party in the race for Bowling
Green’s First Ward council seat.
Connor Goodpaster holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in public administration
from Bowling Green State University, and has lived in the city for five years. He moved into the First
Ward in 2017.
On the subject of the Community Action Plan, Goodpaster said that while the CAP appeared good initially,
and he’s previously spoken in favor of it, the most recent report on redevelopment in the East Wooster
Street corridor may necessitate a reevaluation It might be a good idea, Goodpaster said, to take issues
back to city residents and get their feedback.
“One of the biggest issues we have with the East Wooster Corridor is economic development,” he said.
The same kind of strategy should be used as was used with the CAP: take plans to the citizens and have a
task force ready and willing to work on the issue.
Goodpaster also said bicycle infrastructure could use improvement in the city.
“Especially in the First Ward, can be a bit rough. I bike a lot. Biking in the First Ward doesn’t have
any of the signage, we don’t have any sharrows, we don’t have any bike lanes,” he said.
Goodpaster said he recognizes that not every street can have bike lanes.
“(But) we should put in bike lanes where we can get them,” he said, adding that when that’s not possible,
there should be reminders that bicyclists will be on the road, including more sharrows and signage.
Goodpaster said that there might be the potential for grant money from the Toledo Metropolitan Area
Council of Governments, which he said is looking for suggestions to improve infrastructure.
He said that the Slow Roll bike rides held by the Bicycle Safety Commission should increase because they
raise awareness about and teach safety.
Goodpaster said that sidewalks need to be improved in the First Ward, specifically at those on North
Prospect and North Enterprise streets. He and his wife take walks with their child, he said, and it can
be difficult to navigate them.
“Obviously, the First Ward has a lot of renters, and we have a lot of rental properties that aren’t kept
up very well,” he said, noting there should be a better safety infrastructure for the rentals, whether
that means fire inspections to make sure they’re up to code, or requiring safety inspections before a
rental changes hands from one tenant to another.
“Right now, some of the code compliance issues, we have houses in the First Ward that have been
noncompliant for years. That’s unacceptable. If we have noncompliant properties, we need to get them
compliant quickly. We need to create a new strategy for compliance, a new code for that,” Goodpaster
Also, trash on properties is an issue he hears about frequently, he said.
Goodpaster said that whoever wins the election will represent the First Ward’s interests to the city, and
that means more than just passing legislation.
“That also means doing our best working with the other elected officials” he said, which will include the
state and national level and all party affiliations.
Goodpaster also said that knowledge-based jobs are needed in in Bowling Green. These will help retain
Bowling Green State University graduates, and get higher paying jobs in the city. The strategy, he said,
needs to be to get people to work and live in Bowling Green.
Mark Hollenbaugh, the incumbent, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BGSU, has lived in the
city for more than 35 years. Hollenbaugh was appointed to the First Ward council seat in November after
the resignation of Daniel Gordon. He also served on council from January 2010 to December 2011.
Hollenbaugh said that the Community Action Plan has been a lengthy process, which began with the city’s
new Land Use Plan, then the CAP, and then continued more recently with the East Wooster Street
redevelopment report produced in conjunction with the university.
“And what I’m taking away from all the steps in this process is it is illuminating, and if it helps move
people that weren’t aware that we had a problem into taking action, then it’s a positive thing,” he
said. “A lot of the things that came up through the new land use plan and CAP are things that people
have known about for decades. The same sort of things have been going on and, from time to time,
citizens or other people have made suggestions that would have been positive changes, and change has
been slow to come.”
He said he hopes “that everybody is ready at long last to roll up their sleeves and make some tough
decisions that need to be made.”
Hollenbaugh said he is in favor of bicycle infrastructure.
“We should do whatever we can do to promote more people to bicycle or walk,” he said.
It can be cost prohibitive to outright install bicycle lanes, he said, and there are areas where lanes
could be put in when repaving projects take place. That should be looked into, especially if it connects
major parts of the city, he said. Council should work closely with the Bicycle Safety Commission.
“We need to just say what do we need, what needs to be done? How much is it going to cost, what are the
priorities, and make sure that they are constantly moving forward on it but in a financially responsible
way,” Hollenbaugh said.
He was asked about major issues affecting the First Ward.
“I think this year we need to take a serious look at licensing and, at the very least, some sort of
schedule for fire safety inspections on rental properties. I think that’s long overdue.”
Hollenbaugh also said he would like to see a simplified method for residents seeking to make complaints
about nuisance issues.
“(Currently) depending on what that issue is, and really depending on the day of the week or the time of
the day, who you need to reach out to, to report something can get very complicated,” he said. “So
something I would like to see done is have a sort of a “no wrong door” approach where the city has
either a phone number or an email address or something that all complaints, regardless of what the
nature is, can go to one location and then be sent to wherever they need to go from there.”
Hollenbaugh said he would also like to see legislation passed to deal with non-conforming properties in
Bowling Green, and the city also needs to look at its zoning codes and how it will handle a recent court
decision that stated they can’t enforce rules regarding the number of residents living in a rental
He said that the continuing work of the new Historic Preservation Commission is a positive for the city.

“I feel really good about this year,” he said. “I think everybody is serious about tackling problems and
I really expect a lot of good things to happen.”
Madison Stump, a BGSU student studying environmental policy and analysis, is the director of governmental
affairs in BGSU’s Undergraduate Student Government and sits on the city’s Bicycle Safety Commission.
Stump said she hopes that council will “put community into the Community Action Plan.”
“I would really like to see council bringing the community in carrying out the tasks that have been
assigned to them,” she said.
“What can we do to pull in students, community members” and other stakeholders to make a bicycle trail on
the east side happen, Stump said.
“I also really hope that they are able to find ways to continue to strive toward goals that have
financial obligations, as well, so that money doesn’t necessarily become the limiting factor in
achieving the goals” of the CAP.
She suggested the city can reach out for grants and other programs so that CAP programs that would need
funding wouldn’t be limited by the city’s resources alone.
On bicycle infrastructure and complete streets issues, Stump said that the Bicycle Safety Commission is
striving to help council reach the goals that are listed and they want to achieve, regarding bicycle
“I want to see that relationship continue. The Transportation Safety Committee is working with the
Bicycle Safety Commission to prioritize the streets that need the most amount of attention,” she said,
regarding safety and biking infrastructure.
Projects that will get the city and the university connected, help get people from Point A to Point B,
and promote bicycle safety are very important, Stump said. She said that the commission has a good map
of priority streets and areas of the city that are “high risk” for biking.
Stump said she’d also like for council to work on educating the public. Residents want to bike around the
city, she said, but both drivers and bicyclists need to know proper road etiquette.
“Those education opportunities are going to be extremely important whether we have bicycle infrastructure
or not,” she said. “If people don’t know how to bike safely, then it kind of defeats the purpose of
having the bicycle infrastructure in the first place.”
On major issues for the First Ward, Stump said is housing safety.
She also said that the First Ward contains a lot of the BGSU campus, and there seems to be a big divide
between BGSU students and the rest of the community. The students, she said, don’t feel like they have a
voice in the community, or even know who to go to if they have questions about housing safety or city
“One thing that I think this position needs to fight for is being visible for everyone in the First
Ward,” Stump said. “Someone who is accessible and visible to them.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to serve the people of Bowling Green and make our community …
stronger economically, socially, and have diverse populations where everyone feels … truly a member of
the city of Bowling Green,” she said.

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